Five directives of Rabbi Groner Z”L relating to Pesach
It feels almost unreal that we have just lost one of the great personalities of this generation. A Chassid with all his fiber and being, who served as the conduit for Jews around the world to receive their responses from the Rebbe. For us at Shulchanaruchharav.com, this loss is personally painful, as from our inception in 2015 until only recently, we have been the benefactor of Rabbi Groners detailed knowledge of Chabad custom, and customs of our Rebbe, on hundreds of occasions, virtually serving as consultant for our publications. Aside for being one of the Ziknei Chassidim, who merited to receive Hanhagos from the Ziknei Chassidim of the previous generation, such as Rav Shmuel Livitin, Rav Simpson, Rav Yisrael Jacobson, he was also the most authentic transmitter of the Rebbe’s personal customs. This is all in addition to his own personal knowledge, having been big Talmid Chacham in his own right, and being tasked by the Rebbe to compile Sefer Haminhagim. Almost on a weekly basis we would correspond with Rabbi Groner z”l regarding various laws and customs that have been featured on our website, books, and daily Halacha articles, and that have yet to be featured. While he would often give us detailed responses offering new information on various Minhagim, he would also have no issue responding to us that he did not know anything on the subject, which itself served as an informal answer to the query. Over the years, we have accumulated hundreds of his responses, our latest featuring just a few days ago regarding whether the Rebbe drank tea on Pesach. We mourn his loss together with his family and the rest of Klal Yisrael. May we merit to see him and all of the other victims of this terrible Mageifa very soon with the imminent coming of Moshiach and the resurrection.
The following is a selection of five of the many Pesach directives that we merited to receive from Rabbi Groner over the years, and have published in our Sefarim and website.
- Checking Sefarim for Chametz: Rabbi Groner related to us that the Sefarim in the Rebbe’s office were not checked for Chametz. They were not checked either by the Rebbe nor the secretaries. [Indeed, in our article on the subject we concluded that books do not require checking for Chametz, although they should never be placed down on the eating table.] See Here for the full article on this subject.
- How to eat Matzah: Due to a worry of Gebrochts, some are accustomed to only eat bite size pieces of Matzah and thus remove a bite size piece from the Matzah rather than taking a bite into a large piece. Rabbi Groner related to us that he has never witnessed this custom amongst the Ziknei Chassidim or the Rebbe. [Indeed, in our article on the subject we concluded that there is no issue with taking a bite out of the Matzah, however, due to the laws of Derech Eretz, one should only do so if the Matzah remains in his hand.]
- From what time are those who are accustomed to not eating processed foods to begin their stringency? From the night of Pesach or from 5th hour of Erev Pesach? Rabbi Groner replied to us that one is to abstain from all processed foods beginning from the 5th hour of the day.
- Ginger: In Sefer Haminhagim, and the Rebbe’s Haggadah, it states that for some years the custom became to abstain from cinnamon and ginger. We asked Rabbi Groner if there is a difference between fresh ginger versus the ginger spice, and he responded that the matter is not necessarily negated by Chabad custom, and one should ask a Rav for a final ruling.
- Said a blessing by Urachatz: In the event that one accidentally recited a blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim when washing for Urachatz, the Poskim who discuss this subject rule to continue the Seder as usual, while the Rebbe gave a directive in 1959 to immediately skip to Motzi Matzah. This ruling has stumped many Rabbanim. Rabbi Groner related to us that this was the initial position of the Rebbe, however, in a later Frabrengen which took place the Shabbos after Acharon Shel Pesach, by which he was present, he heard the Rebbe clearly retract from his previous rulings, and state to continue the Seder as usual. He said that the Rebbe began the Frabrengen with the puzzling words of Rava….. and that for one reason or another, the above Sicha was missing from the transcripts of the Sichos of that Shabbos, and never made it to print. These details were separately corroborated by Rav Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi OBM. See Here for the full article on this subject.
Q&A on Fasting Taanis Bechoros this year due to Coronavirus outbreak:
The following is an update to the article we ran in Chodesh Adar on this subject, based on the more updated Coronavirus crises that we are in. See here for the full article.
Must/should I make my own Siyum Misechta?
Based on the above article which discusses the invalidation of being Yotzei a Siyum through live hookup, all those who will be unable to physically participate in a Siyum Misechta this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, should try to make their own Siyum Misechta at home. It is not required for one to learn a long Misechta which will take a long time, and one can study even a small Misechta, such as Miseches Tamid, Miseches Kallah, Sofrim, and Avos Derebbe Nasan.
What if I cannot make a Siyum on my own?
If one is unable to make a Siyum Misechta due to whatever reason, then he is nevertheless not to fast. This applies even if one feels that he is able to fast, and certainly applies if he will have difficulty fasting. In such a case one is to redeem the fast with charity [i.e. one’s money worth of meals for that day], and try to listen in to a live Siyum through radio, or telephone, or internet. Due to the exemption of fasting during a time of a pandemic, this year there is no issue with relying on a radio/live Siyum Misechta, as in any event one is exempt due to the Corona.
What if I cannot/did not make it to a live Siyum Misechta?
Then one is nevertheless not to fast, and should redeem his fast with charity, as stated above.
- Fast day for Bechoros: If you are a Bechor, make sure to fast from Alos until Tzeis, or join a Siyum. This year due to the corona virus-do not fast, as stated above!
- Remember to avoid mentioning “This meat is for Pesach”. Rather say “This meat is for Yom Tov”.
- Don’t eat lettuce; apples; pears; nuts until the Seder. One may eat eggs, chicken or meat, potatoes and onions.
- Awake early to Daven Shacharis
- Omit Mizmor Lesoda until after Pesach
To do before beginning of 5th hour of the day:
- Finish any last minute Kashering prior to the 5th
- Kasher the teeth prior to the 5th
- Finish eating Chametz prior to the 5th hour of the day [i.e. Sof Zeman Tefila]. It is forbidden to eat Chametz once the 5th hour has begun. Look in a Jewish calendar to verify the 5th hour of your region.
- Do not eat Matzah Ashira, egg Matzah, starting from the 5th hour until the end of Pesach.
To do before the beginning of the 6th hour:
- Remove all Chametz leftovers from the house.
- Garbage: Make sure the Chametz garbage is removed to an area that is public for all, and has not remained in a building shoot.
- Pockets: Clean out your Chametz pockets.
- Close closets: Close up any closets sold to gentile.
- Biur Chametz: Burn at least a Kezayis Chametz. Burn the bag containing the ten pieces of bread, together with the feather and any remnant of the candle, and the wooden spoon.
- Bittul: After burning the Chametz, recite the Bittul of Kol Chamira in a language that you understand. The Bittul must be recited prior to the 6th Don’t recite the Bittul until at least a Kezayis of the Chametz burns.
To do before midday:
- Starting from midday [Chatzos] do not perform any Melacha that may not be performed on Chol Hamoed
- Cut nails and receive a haircut before Chatzos
- Print whatever Pesach papers you will need before Chatzos.
To do before 10th hour:
- Food restrictions that apply past the 10th hour [Three Zmaniyos hours before sunset]: Don’t eat a large amount of food.
- One may eat a small amount of fruits and other foods.
- One may not drink wine or grape juice at this time.
Eiruv Tavshilin [In years applicable]
- In the Diaspora, whenever the 2nd day of Pesach falls on Erev Shabbos one performs an Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Pesach [Wednesday].
- The owner of the house takes a whole loaf/role of bread/Matzah the size of a Kibeitza [which is to later be used on Shabbos] and a Kezayis of a cooked piece of meat or other food which one eats together with bread.
- If one has another person to use to acquire the food to him on behalf of the city then the owner is to say:
“אני מזכה לכל־מי שרוצה לזכות ולסמוך על ערוב זה”
- The person who is acquiring the food for the townspeople then lifts the food up one Tefach.
- The owner then takes back the food and recites the following blessing:
ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על מצות עירוב.
- If one does not have another person to use to acquire the food to the townspeople, then he is to simply hold the food and begin with the above blessing.
- After the blessing one says in a language that he understands “With this Eiruv it will be permitted for us to bake and cook and insulate foods, and light candles and to do all our needs on Yom Tov for Shabbos”.
בדין יהא שרא לנא לאפויי ולבשולי ולאטמוני ולאדלוקי שרגא ולתקנא ולמעבד כל צרכנא מיומא טבא
לשבתא לנא ולכל ישראל הדרים בעיר הזאת
Seder preparation to do list:
- Immerse new vessels in a Mikveh. This year due to the coronavirus, give the vessel to a gentile to exempt from tevila.
- The leader of the Seder is to review the Hagadah and story of the exodus with the Mefarshim and contemplate the best ways of giving over the information to the participants, each on his level.
- It is strongly advised for the Seder participants to take a nap on Erev Pesach. This is especially imperative upon the leader of the Seder and upon the children of the home, in order so they have strength to stay awake.
- Immerse new vessels in a Mikveh
- Don’t eat lettuce; apples; pears; nuts
- Wash and clean the lettuce. Don’t soak the lettuce that will be used for Maror, in water, for 24 hours.
- Those who follow the custom of abstaining from eating Gebrochts, are to make sure to dry the lettuce that will be used for the Koreich sandwich.
- One is to grind the horseradish before Yom Tov and keep it in a closed container.
- Roast the Zeroa-neck of the chicken.
- Prepare the Charoses: The Charoses is made from apples, pears, almonds and wine. It is our custom to only add the wine later on during the Seder. In years that Pesach falls on Shabbos, place wine in the Charoses before Shabbos.
- One is not to say regarding meat or poultry, that “This meat is for Pesach” or “Buy me this meat for Pesach.”
- Do not roast any meat or poultry to be eaten for Seder night. One may roast fish. Don’t cook the meat in a pot without liquids, even if it will simmer in its own juice. One may roast the meat and then cook it.
- Set up the Seder table.
- Prepare cushions on seat for leaning. Women don’t lean.
- Check the Matzos for Kefulos and Sheleimos.
- Separate Challah from the Matzos, if needed.
- Prepare the bags of Kezayis of Matzah and Maror for all participants. Weigh/measure the Kezaeisim beforehand.
- Prepare the Karpas
- Make salt water.
- Cook the egg for Beitza.
- If you don’t have a broken plate for the spilling of the wine by the Makos, then chip a plastic bowl before Yom Tov.
In the Diaspora, whenever the 2nd day of Pesach falls on Erev Shabbos, one must do Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Pesach [Wednesday] in order to be allowed to cook on the 2nd day of Pesach for Shabbos.
Cooking on the first day of Yom Tov for Shabbos: It is forbidden to cook foods on the first day of Yom Tov [i.e. Thursday] on behalf of Shabbos even if Eiruv Tavshilin was performed. The Eiruv Tavshilin only allows one to cook on the second day of Pesach [i.e. Friday] on behalf of Shabbos.
Cooking with enough time so the food is ready before Shabbos: Even when Eiruv Tavshilin is performed, it is only permitted to cook food for Shabbos if there is enough time for the food to be fully cooked and servable to guests on Yom Tov, prior to sunset. It is Biblically forbidden to cook foods if there isn’t enough time left for the food to be served before sunset. Many are unaware of this matter.
The Eiruv Tavshilin must be performed on Erev Pesach. It may be performed any time on Erev Pesach. [Initially, it is to be performed only after daybreak on Erev Yom Tov, although in a time of need it may be performed starting from the night of Erev Yom Tov.] If one forgot to perform Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Pesach, then if it is prior to nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim] one may still do the Eiruv Tavshilin, even if it is already past sunset. If, however, one remembered only after nightfall then by a regular Yom Tov that falls on Thursday-Friday one may [Bedieved] make an Eiruv Tavshilin on Thursday using a Tnaiy that “if today is Yom Tov tomorrow is a weekday etc.”
- How is it done?
The foods: The owner of the house takes a [whole] loaf of Matzah the size of a Kebeitza [which is to later be used on Shabbos for the meal] and a Kezayis of a cooked piece of meat or other food which one eats together with bread. Nevertheless, initially it is best to use an honorable food, such as meat or fish.
Being Mizakeh on behalf of others: The custom is to acquire the food to all the other members of the city in order to merit them with the Mitzvah in case someone forgot to do so. This is done through placing the food into the hands of a non-family member, or one’s married son, or any child above Bar/Bas Mitzvah which supports himself/herself. After the food is placed in their hands, the owner of the house says “I hereby acquire [this food] to all those that want to acquire and rely on this Eiruv”. The person then lifts up the food one Tefach from its current area, hence acquiring it for the townspeople. The owner then takes back the food and recites the blessing of “Al Mitzvas Eiruv”, as explained next. If there is no non-family member or married son available, then one may give it to one’s wife, or one’s child who is over Bar Mitzvah, to lift up one Tefach and acquire the Eiruv to the city members. However, children under the age of Bar Mitzvah which are supported by the household may not be used for this acquisition.
The blessing: One says the following blessing upon making the Eiruv Tavshilin: “…Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Al Mitzvas Eiruv”. After the blessing, one says in a language that he understands “With this Eiruv it will be permitted for us to bake and cook and insulate foods, and light candles and do all our needs for Yom Tov to Shabbos.”
Q&A on what to use for Eiruv Tavshilin
May one use frozen cooked meat for the Eiruv Tavshilin?
May one use for Eiruv Tavshilin products that one does not eat due to a stringency?
Some Poskim rule it is invalid to use for the Eiruv any food that one does not eat even due to merely a Chumra. Others conclude that while initially one should refrain from doing so, in a case of need the Eiruv is valid.
May one use machine Matzah, and other non-Pesach products for the Eiruv Tavshilin of Pesach?
This follows the same ruling as above, and hence one should avoid using for the Eiruv Tavshilin, products that one is careful not to eat on Pesach. This, however, only applies if the food is also not eaten on Shabbos, such as when Shabbos falls during the Yom Tov of Pesach. However, if Shabbos falls after Pesach [as explained next] and the food will be eaten on Shabbos, then the food may be used.
May one use food that he does not own for the procedure of Eiruv Tavshilin?
No. The food used for Eiruv Tavshilin must be owned by him.
- If one forgot to perform Eiruv Tavshilin:
If one forgot to perform Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Pesach and it is already after nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim] one may only do so through making a Tnaiy, as explained above in B. However, this only applies when Yom Tov falls on Thursday-Friday, however when Yom Tov falls on Friday-Shabbos, a Tnaiy does not help. One is to speak to a Rav in regard to how he may cook food on Erev Shabbos for the sake of Shabbos.
- What does one do with the Eiruv Tavshilin food?
The Matzah and food used for the Eiruv Tavshilin must be put away in a secure area in order so it will not get eaten or destroyed prior to the completion of the Shabbos preparations on Friday. From the letter of the law, once the Shabbos preparations have been completed, one may eat the foods designated for the Eiruv Tavshilin. Nevertheless, if the Matzah is whole, and can hence be used for Lechem Mishneh, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to delay eating the Matzah until one of the Shabbos meals. Some have the custom to use the Matzah as Lechem Mishneh for the first and second Shabbos meal and then eat it only by the third Shabbos meal.
If the food was eaten or lost: If the cooked food was partially eaten or lost prior to completing the Shabbos preparations, then it is forbidden to cook or do any more preparation on behalf of Shabbos unless a Kezayis worth of the cooked food remains. If, however, only the Matzah was eaten or lost then it remains permitted to cook and prepare on Friday for Shabbos.
Reminding the public:
In those years that Eiruv Tavshilin must be performed it is proper to place signs by the public areas [i.e. Shul; Mikveh; Website] in order to remind the public of this matter. [It is suggested to also announce this in Shul at the conclusion of Shacharis and prior to Mincha.]
Whenever the 2nd day of Pesach falls on Erev Shabbos one performs an Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Pesach [Wednesday]. The owner of the house takes a whole Matzah the size of a Kebeitza [which is to later be used on Shabbos] and a Kezayis of a cooked piece of meat or other food which one eats together with Matzah. If one has another person to use to acquire the food to him on behalf of the city then the owner is to say:
“אני מזכה לכל־מי שרוצה לזכות ולסמוך על ערוב זה”
The person who is acquiring the food for the townspeople then lifts the food up one Tefach. The owner then takes back the food and recites the following blessing: [If one does not have another person to use to acquire the food to the townspeople then he is to simply hold the food and begin from here with the following blessing:]
ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על מצות עירוב.
After the blessing one says in a language that he understands “With this Eiruv it will be permitted for us to bake and cook and insulate foods, and light candles and to do all our needs on Yom Tov for Shabbos”.
בדין יהא שרא לנא לאפויי ולבשולי ולאטמוני ולאדלוקי שרגא ולתקנא ולמעבד כל צרכנא מיומא טבא
לשבתא לנא ולכל ישראל הדרים בעיר הזאת
 See M”A 576:2 that during a pandemic one is not to abstain from eating and drinking
 See Peri Hasadeh 4:57; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 52
 It is not possible for the 1st day of Pesach to ever fall on Erev Shabbos. [See Michaber 428:1-3; Rambam Kiddush Hachodesh 7]
 Admur 527:23
 Admur 527:8; M”B 527:3; See Aruch Hashulchan 527:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 527:3 for other opinions in this matter
 Initially one may not do the Eiruv Tavshilin before Erev Pesach. [527:2-see there for a dispute on this matter and that initially we are stringent]
 Shevet Halevi 9:129; Rav SZ”A, brought in Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 12 p. 496; Rebbe in Sichas 27th Elul 5747 and later reclarified in a Maaneh to the Rabbanim, printed in Koveitz Ohalei Torah Chag Hashavuos 5774 p. 129 [In the Sicha the Rebbe stated that one may do Eiruv Tavshilin also from the night of Erev Yom Tov. The Rebbe later clarified to the Rabbanimin a handwritten response that this is only in a case that one is traveling beforehand, although under normal circumstances it is to be done on Yom Tov day, after daybreak]; See Nitei Gavriel Yom Tov Vol. 2 chapter 81 footnote 18; Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 12
The reason: It is questionable whether the night of Erev Yom Tov can be considered a time of preparation for Shabbos, and hence fulfill the second reason behind Eiruv Tavshilin or not. [See Admur 527:2 for the two reasons behind Eiruv Tavshilin and that according to the second reason, it must be performed on Erev Yom Tov itself as only then is he involved in Shabbos preparations and he will come to remember it.] Therefore, initially one should not perform the Eiruv Tavshilin at night although in a time of need, such as if one will be traveling, then it is valid even with a blessing. [Poskim ibid]
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it may even initially be performed on the night of Erev Yom Tov. [Heard from Rav Yaakov Yosef z”l] Other Poskim rule it may not be done on the night of Erev Yom Tov with a blessing. [See Siach Yitzchak 242; Yisrael Vihazmanim 22; Lehoros Nasan Moadim 3:250-4]
 Admur 527:9; Biur Halacha 261 “Mearvin”
The reason: As the time of Bein Hashmashos is doubtful whether it is day or night, and since Eiruv Tavshilin is a Rabbinical in junction one may be lenient. [Admur ibid]
 Admur 527/21
 Siddur Admur; Admur 527:3
 The reason: In order to be able to say Lechem Mishneh over it on Shabbos as rules Admur 527:25
 57.6 grams [Shiureiy Torah p. 177]
 Siddur Admur
 Admur 527:25; “Some are accustomed to use it for Lechem Mishneh for the first and second meal and then eat it by the third meal”; See Likkutei Sichos 16:183
 27 grams [See Shiureiy Torah p. 193]
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is to take a Kibeitza of food. [Ashel Avraham Butchach 527:7 based on Tzlach Pesachim]
 Admur 527:3; 527:12; It is valid whether it is cooked or roasted. [ibid] If the food is raw it is invalid.
 Admur mentions meat, fish or egg. [527:11]
 Admur 527:11
 Admur in Siddur; Shlah brought in Beir Heiytiv 527:2; See Admur 527:13 regarding negating the use of leftovers
 Siddur Admur; 527:17; See also 366:13
 Siddur Admur writes this directive to the general public as does the Shlah Miseches Sukkah 246; however in 527:14 this is only mentioned regarding the Rav and leaders of the city.
 This is allowed even if the non-family member is a member of one’s household. [527:17]
 This applies even if he is supported by his parents in all matters. [527:17]
 Siddur Admur; In 527:17 Admur writes a slightly different wording
The reason: By doing so the owner officially appoints the person holding the food as a messenger to acquire the food. [Admur 527:17]
 If however he does not lift it one Tefach then he does not acquire it at all for others as less than a Tefach does not acquire. [ibid] This order [to first say the statement and then have the acquirer lift a Tefach] follows the wording in the Siddur. However in 527:17 Admur writes the opposite order, to first to lift it up a Tefach and then to say the statement.
 Admur 527:17 and 366:13 that there is a dispute amongst Poskim as to whether a wife and children above Bar and Bas Mitzvah may perform the acquisition. Admur ibid concludes that Lechatchila one should not do so although Bedieved if one did so through them it is valid.
 Shevet Halevi 9:129-1; Nitei Gavriel Yom Tov 2 88:19; Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 133
 See Hisorerus Teshuvah 2:31; However, see regarding Eiruv Chatzeiros Michaber 386:8 that it is valid to use Teruma foods even though it is not fit for Yisraeilim and Levi’im; See Kol Bo 59; Orchos Chaim Eiruv Tavshilin 3; Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 132; See also Ketzos Hashulchan 105 footnote 20 who implies it is not an issue.
 The reason: As the purpose of the food of the Eiruv is that it considers one to have already begun his Shabbos cooking in which case he may continue and finish off the cooking on Yom Tov. However here, since he will not be eating the food on Shabbos due to his Chumra, this justification is not applicable. [Hisorerus Teshuvah ibid]
 Nitei Gavriel 82:14 in name of Divrei Shalom 4:91
 Nitei Gavriel 13:4 in name of Michla Diesvasa 45; Nitei Gavriel Yom Tov 82:15 in name of Ketzos Hashulchan 105 footnote 20 and Hisorerus Teshuvah ibid [however in truth the Ketzos Hashulchan does not make any mention of this matter, and simply states that one cannot be Mezakeh to others when using such a product, such as machine Matzah, as perhaps other people do not want to be Zoche in such foods over Pesach. However, regarding the person himself, no mention is made in whether he can use it for his Eiruv if he so chooses, even though he is Machmir not to eat it.]
 Conclusion of Michlah Diesvasa 45 based on Daas Torah 527 [unlike what Nitei Gavriel ibid writes in his name]; Tzitz Eliezer 14:54; Yom Tov Kehilchaso 25 footnote 132
The reason: As the food of the Eiruv is eaten on Shabbos, andaccording to both reasons recorded in Admur 527:2, its entire purpose of preparation is for the sake of Shabbos. Therefore, so long as its fit to be eaten for Shabbos it is valid for use of Eiruv Tavshilin.
 Admur 527:14 “The Eiruv is to be done in ones house from one’s own food”; Kuntrus Acharon ibid 2
 Admur 527:25
 The reason: As every item which had one Mitzvah done with it should have an additional Mitzvah performed with it as well. [ibid]
 Admur 527:25 “Some are accustomed to use it for Lechem Mishneh for the first and second meal and then eat it by the third meal”; See Likkutei Sichos 16:183
The reason: As it is proper to do many Mitzvos with an item that was already used for a Mitzvah. [ibid]
 Admur 527:24
 Aruch Hashulchan 527:14
 Alef Lamagen 581:131